Shaun Leane and Lee Alexander McQueen

FASHION FRIENDS: Collaborations and partnerships are key in fashion, so it’s no wonder that “Fashion Together” is the focus of Lou Stoppard’s first book. The 304-page tome, published by Rizzoli New York with a foreword by Andrew Bolton, explores these alliances. “Fashion Together: Fashion’s Most Extraordinary Duos on the Art of Collaboration” includes interviews and unpublished works, photos and drawings as well as notes and sketches.

Stoppard, who is the editor at large at Showstudio as well as a writer and curator, spent three years working on the book, which spotlights partnerships between Marc Jacobs and Katie Grand; Nick Knight and Daphne Guinness; Riccardo Tisci and Mariacarla Boscono, and Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin.

“It was such a joyful project,” said Stoppard at a cocktail hosted by in west London late last week. “I interviewed every pair together, and what really struck me was how haphazard the (first) meetings were between each pair.”

“I think that’s quite inspiring for a young person to know that someone you met through a friend or someone that you sat next to at college might become a really important person in your life.”

British jewelry designer Shaun Leane met Lee Alexander McQueen in 1990 through a mutual friend, Simon Ungless.

“He was an East London boy,” said Shaun Leane. “I’m a North London boy. Both gay, both quite feisty. Same generation. And my background was traditional goldsmith training — very strict, very classic.”

He said their years together were precious. “I created beautiful things with him that will be written about in books forever and will inspire young apprentices and students. It was a joyous, wonderful time, and I have to remember that.”

Meanwhile, Jacobs said he and Grand became close when he started working on the Marc Jacobs collections and Louis Vuitton collections together. “We were spending so much time together,” said Jacobs. “I didn’t see anyone as much as I saw Katie. And we were always communicating — in between when we saw each other we were texting, sending photos, sending pictures of fittings.”

Grand noted that Jacobs doesn’t like change at all. “He hates changing his staff,” said Grand. “He loathes it. I think he kind of fears it. We’d got to this point where I was working with him so closely on Vuitton, and we’d notice that he would use quite a lot of starting points from the Vuitton discussions for his own collections. He was texting me all the way through August. I’d be in Ibiza with Peter Copping, who’d laugh at me and say, ‘I’m so glad I don’t work there anymore!’ Marc would just send me everything — all the shoe trials, all the bag trials. Text after text after text saying, ‘What do you think of this?’ I thought, this is getting ridiculous. August is spent answering Marc’s texts!”

“I felt like I was working on it, but I wasn’t formally working on it,” Grand added. “It just got frustrating — probably because I was such a fan of the Marc Jacobs name. I always felt like I was a Marc Jacobs shopper rather than a Vuitton shopper. I was hungover one morning, and he was asking me something, and I texted back, “Why don’t you just ask me to do the show?” And then there was silence. I stood in my kitchen thinking, ‘I’m f–ked! Have I just lost my job?’ But it had been brewing in my head for two years. In the end I’m glad I did it, because we got to do both.”

“Fashion Together: Fashion’s Most Extraordinary Duos on the Art of Collaboration” is priced at 55 pounds.

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